SWEDEN sees no evidence that herd immunity is helping to slow the spread of the coronavirus, said the country’s leading epidemiologist.
Anders Tegnell’s admission comes as the number of new infections continues to rise with 17,265 new cases since Friday – compared to 15,084 in the same period last week.
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A shopper wearing a mask in central StockholmPhoto credit: Rex Features
Sweden’s daily infections have gone down and stayed low
Tegnell is the architect of Sweden’s unorthodox approach of not completely locking down and relying on voluntary action as the other countries impose restrictions on their people.
Bloomberg reports that there is little evidence that herd immunity is helping Sweden fight the coronavirus.
“The problem of herd immunity is difficult,” said Anders Tegnell on Tuesday in Stockholm.
“We are not seeing any evidence of immunity in the population that is currently slowing the infection.”
Herd immunity refers to where enough people in a population have immunity to infection to effectively stop the spread of the disease.
Sweden recorded 94 new deaths for a total of 6,500.
Sweden has not been banned like elsewhere in EuropeImage credit: EPA
Almost half of these occurred in nursing homes and a quarter were elderly people receiving home care.
Sweden’s per capita mortality rate is many times higher than that of its Nordic neighbors, but lower than some larger European countries.
Tegnell’s admission comes as the Swedish health watchdog sharply condemned the way elderly people in the country were treated in nursing homes during the pandemic
The Health and Social Care Inspectorate (IVO) found from March to June that a fifth of all Covid patients in nursing homes had not been individually examined by a doctor.
In 40 percent of these cases, the patient was not examined by a nurse either.
When an assessment was made, the majority were done over the phone and fewer than 10 percent of patients received a physical exam.
“The minimum level of care is simply too low even during a pandemic,” said IVO director Sofia Wallstrom at a press conference.
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The agency concluded that elderly residents of care facilities had not received adequate care in either confirmed or suspected cases of coronavirus.
IVO also said that its study of elderly care had been hampered by insufficient patient records.
Sweden’s high number of elderly care deaths has been hotly debated in the country that has long been proud of its welfare system.